By Ava Lee ’21
The Gunnery started off the 2019-2020 school year with some major changes in dress code; as usual when the dress code changes, there are various viewpoints on the issue.
According to the DOS, this change was an effort to strengthen our community during advisor lunches. Students are now expected to wear their formal dress on Tuesdays and Fridays. Formal dress includes a white button down, khaki pants, a blue blazer with a Gunnery patch, and a school tie. If you choose not to wear khakis and a tie, students wear a white button down, a kilt, and a blue blazer with a Gunnery patch. Although formal dress is a long standing tradition at The Gunnery, in recent years students have not been required to wear it during the academic day. With the addition of two formal dress days each week, many students will need to adapt, as formal dress was far less common in past years. It was only worn on special occasions such as Convocation, formal dinners, and Commencement. For four year seniors, this is a big change.
Some students strongly feel they would rather not wear a kilt or a school tie twice a week. However, many students are far less upset. For instance, four year senior Gianna Russillo ‘20 says, “I’m an advocate actually, less clothes for me to pick out.” Many students and faculty share this opinion with Gianna. Despite the recent changes in the rules regarding formal dress, it seems students have already adjusted and are ready to embrace the new aspect of our community.
One change in rules that is not being perceived as well is the new collared shirt rule. For the past few years, the dress code allowed girls to wear blouses with no collar. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication between the students and the DOS of what a blouse looks like, and people who took advantage of the rule to wear tops that stretched the definition of blouse. To avoid the drama of what qualifies as a blouse, the DOS cut it all off and decided we should stick with turtle necks and collared shirts. For students who have been here for over a year, this change is really intense. If you were one of the students who did not expect this rule you were probably frantically tearing through racks of collared shirts a few days before school started to find one you can style with your favorite skirt and still be comfortable.
Three year junior, Jayla Stack ‘20 brings up an interesting point: “it’s weird because most people don’t wear collared shirts, so no one knows how to dress anymore and it makes them uncomfortable because they don’t like what they’re wearing. I think if you like what you’re wearing you can do better, like you can have a great day and feel confident!” Most students share this opinion and feel that it is completely possible to maintain a professional appearance while wearing a blouse and many girls are advocating for bringing blouses back with more clarification on the rules.
On a happier note, after a year of greatly testing the DOS on what qualifies as a “sneaker” or “pants,” they have responded with much more lenient rules in those categories. Students consistently showed up to Monday morning classes in their slip-on Vans, Converse, and so many other styles of sneaker-like shoes. This year, as long as they are not running style sneakers you can wear them to class. This allows much more room for uniqueness and comfort; there has already been a great decline in boat shoes on campus this year. Dr. Matthews said, “I am happy that the students are happy with their new options for shoes!”
Overall, new rules on campus are something we eventually adjust to with time. There will always be mixed opinions throughout the faculty and student body regarding new rules. For the first few weeks of a new school year, returning students typically cause an uproar about which dress code changes they hate, but the controversy will surely level out in short order. It is important to the whole community to present ourselves well while also being comfortable, and dress code is one way to help control that.